Global Sea Level Observing System

The Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) is an Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission program whose purpose is to measure sea level globally for long-term climate change studies. The program's purpose has changed since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the program now collects realtime measurements of sea level. The project is currently upgrading the over 290 stations it currently runs, so that they can send realtime data via satellite to newly set up national tsunami centres. They are also fitting the stations with solar panels so they can continue to operate even if the mains power supply is interrupted by severe weather. The Global Sea Level Observing System does not compete with Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis as most GLOSS transducers are located close to land masses while DART's transducers are far out in the ocean.

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Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay

Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) is a program initiated by the World Meteorological Organization.

AMDAR is used to collect meteorological data worldwide by using commercial aircraft.

Data is collected by the aircraft navigation systems and the onboard standard temperature and static pressure probes.

The data is then preprocessed before linking them down to the ground either via VHF communication (ACARS)

or via satellite link ASDAR.

A detailed description is given in the AMDAR Reference Manual (WMO-No 958) available from the World Meteorological Organization,

Geneva, Switzerland.

Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System

AMeDAS (Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System), commonly known in Japanese as "アメダス" (amedasu), is a high-resolution surface observation network developed by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) used for gathering regional weather data and verifying forecast performance. The system began operating on 1 November 1974, and currently comprises 1,300 stations throughout Japan (of which over 1,100 are unmanned), with an average separation of 17 km (11 mi).

Observations at manned stations cover weather, wind direction and speed, types and amounts of precipitation, types and base heights of clouds, visibility, air temperature, humidity, sunshine duration, and atmospheric pressure. All of these (except weather, visibility and cloud-related meteorological elements) are observed automatically.

At unmanned stations, observations are performed every 10 minutes. About 700 of the unmanned stations observe precipitation, air temperature, wind direction and speed, and sunshine duration, while the other stations observe only precipitation.

For about 280 stations (manned or unmanned) located in areas of heavy snowfall, snow depth is also observed.

All the observational data is transmitted to the AMeDAS Center at JMA Headquarters in Tokyo on a real time basis via dedicated telephone lines. The data is then delivered to the whole country after a quality check.

As well as weather conditions, AMeDAS is also used in the observation of natural disasters. Temporary observation points are set up in areas where there are signs of volcanic eruptions or earthquakes.

Automatic weather station

An automatic weather station (AWS) is an automated version of the traditional weather station, either to save human labour or to enable measurements from remote areas. An AWS will typically consist of a weather-proof enclosure containing the data logger, rechargeable battery, telemetry (optional) and the meteorological sensors with an attached solar panel or wind turbine and mounted upon a mast. The specific configuration may vary due to the purpose of the system. The system may report in near real time via the Argos System and the Global Telecommunications System, or save the data for later recovery.In the past, automatic weather stations were often placed where electricity and communication lines were available. Nowadays, the solar panel, wind turbine and mobile phone technology have made it possible to have wireless stations that are not connected to the electrical grid or hardline telecommunications network.

Citizen Weather Observer Program

The Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) is a network of privately owned electronic weather stations concentrated in the United States but also located in over 150 countries. Network participation allows volunteers with computerized weather stations to send automated surface weather observations to the National Weather Service (NWS) by way of the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS). This data is then used by the Rapid Refresh (RAP) forecast model to produce short term forecasts (3 to 12 hours into the future) of conditions across the contiguous United States. Observations are also redistributed to the public.

Coastal-Marine Automated Network

The Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) is a meteorological observation network along the coastal United States. Consisting of about sixty stations installed on lighthouses, at capes and beaches, on near shore islands, and on offshore platforms, the stations record atmospheric pressure, wind direction, speed and gust, and air temperature; however, some C-MAN stations are designed to also measure sea surface temperature, water level, waves, relative humidity, precipitation, and visibility.

The network is maintained by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) of the National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and data is ingested into numerical weather prediction computer models. It was created in the early 1980s to maintain observations that were about to be discontinued by other programs. Data is processed and transmitted similarly to the moored buoy system.

In 2002, C-MAN was added to the NOAA Observing System Architecture (NOSA).

Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis

Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) is a component of an enhanced tsunami warning system.

By logging changes in seafloor temperature and pressure, and transmitting the data via a surface buoy to a ground station by satellite, DART enables instant, accurate tsunami forecasts. In Standard Mode, the system logs the data at 15-minute intervals, and in Event Mode, every 15 seconds. A 2-way communication system allows the ground station to switch DART into Event Mode whenever detailed reports are needed.


A dropsonde is an expendable weather reconnaissance device created by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), designed to be dropped from an aircraft at altitude over water to measure (and therefore track) storm conditions as the device falls to the surface. The sonde contains a GPS receiver, along with pressure, temperature, and humidity (PTH) sensors to capture atmospheric profiles and thermodynamic data. It typically relays this data to a computer in the aircraft by radio transmission.

Flanders Marine Institute

The Flanders Marine Institute (Dutch: Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, VLIZ) provides a focal point for marine scientific research in Flanders, northern Belgium.

The Flemish government established the institute in 1999 together with the province of West Flanders and the Fund for Scientific Research.

VLIZ promotes the accumulation of knowledge and excellence in research with regard to the ocean, seas, coasts and tidal estuaries. The central focus is on the provision of services to the research community, educators, the general public, policymakers and the industry.

VLIZ promotes and supports Flemish marine research. Within this scope, VLIZ focuses on open, useful networking and the promotion of an integrated and cross-disciplinary approach. VLIZ serves as a national and international point of contact in the field of marine research. In this respect, it supports the image of Flemish marine research in the four corners of the globe and can hold mandates to represent this research landscape.

The institute also supports and accommodates international organisations on behalf of the Flemish government: the IOC Project Office for IODE, the European Marine Board secretariat and the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) secretariat in Ostend, and the Joint Programming Initiative on Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) secretariat in Brussels.

VLIZ also manages RV Simon Stevin a marine research vessel.

Making the research vessel Simon Stevin, marine robots as well as other research equipment and infrastructure available is one of the services provided to marine scientists in Flanders. Within a European context, VLIZ offers technical and operational expertise for the use of this infrastructure. It stimulates and initiates research based on these innovative technologies.

VLIZ also develops data systems, products, technologies and infrastructure. It collects new data by means of innovative techniques and valorises the increasing volume of marine data for the benefit of researchers, policymakers and the industry. In partnership with Flemish research groups, it develops permanent measurement networks at sea and presents itself to the world as a high-quality oceanographic data centre. The institute has developed and hosted the World Register of Marine Species and associated taxonomic subregisters, and hosts the Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera, and the Sea Level Monitoring Facility of the Global Sea Level Observing System. In November 2011 VLIZ was officially recognized as a World Data Center by the Paris-based International Council for Science (ICSU).VLIZ manages an extensive collection of marine scientific literature in Flanders and makes it publicly available to the broadest possible target group via its library. The Open Marine Archive makes it possible to remotely consult tens of thousands of publications free of charge. In addition, VLIZ initiates and conducts innovative and multidisciplinary research in collaboration with and complementary to the Flemish and international marine research groups. By identifying needs and opportunities, it provides oxygen to the Flemish marine knowledge economy of the future. VLIZ develops policy-relevant products and services for the marine research community and policymakers as well as to support the blue economy. The ‘Compendium for Coast and Sea’ is a reliable guide listing who does what within this field in Flanders. VLIZ initiates, promotes and supports multidisciplinary research to fill knowledge gaps and provide a basis for marine policy. It does so in close cooperation with the Flemish marine research community. Finally, VLIZ reaches out to the public at large, the press, educators and coastal guides. The information desk offers knowledge presented in innovative formats and contributes to increasing ocean literacy by means of science popularisation, thus improving the image of the research conducted in Flanders and beyond.

Global Atmosphere Watch

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) is a worldwide system established by the World Meteorological Organization – a United Nations agency – to monitor trends in the Earth's atmosphere. It arose out of concerns for the state of the atmosphere in the 1960s.

King Sejong Station

The King Sejong Station is a research station for the Korea Antarctic Research Program that is named after King Sejong the Great of Joseon (1397–1450).

Established on February 17, 1988, it consists of 11 facility buildings and two observatories, and it is located on the Barton Peninsula (King George Island), it is currently overseen by station chief scientist In-Young Ahn. It experiences a fairly mild climate, and therefore draws many animals for summer breeding (which, unsurprisingly, draw a lot of biologists).

In the summer, the station supports up to 90 people from the Korea Polar Research Institute, and guest scientists from other institutions as well. Over winter, it accommodates only 17 engineers and scientists who maintain the station and routinely collect data (meteorological records, oceanographical parameters, etc.), but their main focus is on tracking the general change of the natural environment. Researchers from Korea continually collaborate with various other institutes in Antarctica and the rest of the world by participating in, monitoring, and contributing to the World Meteorological Organization, the Global Sea-level Observing System, the International Seismological Center, and the Intermagnet Project.

The station is usually re-supplied yearly by the RV Onnuri and more frequently by planes flying from Jubany in Argentina and the Chilean Eduardo Frei Base.The RV Araon was commissioned in 2009, and she supplies South Korea's research stations, including the Jang Bogo Station.

List of weather instruments

For financial instruments concerning weather, see weather insurance.This is a list of devices used for recording various aspects of the weather.

Remote Automated Weather Station

The Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS) system is a network of automated weather stations run by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and monitored by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), mainly to observe potential wildfire conditions.

Unlike the automated airport weather stations which are located at significant airports, RAWS stations are often located in remote areas, particularly in national forests. Because of this, they usually are not connected to the electrical grid, but rather have their own solar panels, and a battery to store power for overnight reporting. Some instead run on a generator. In both cases, data important to operating the station itself, such as battery voltage or fuel level, is often included in the hourly reports.

Also because of the remote locations, most communicate with a modem via telephone, or via a VSAT connection to a GOES satellite.

In this regard, they are similar to mesonets and may be mesonets if the distance between stations (spatial resolution) is sufficiently dense. They often lack the consistently high-quality data needed for use in numerical weather prediction and climatology, however. Road Weather Information System (RWIS) may likewise be self-powered and located in remote areas.

Road Weather Information System

A Road Weather Information System (RWIS) comprises automatic weather stations (technically referred to as Environmental Sensor Stations (ESS)) in the field, a communication system for data transfer, and central systems to collect field data from numerous ESS. These stations measure real-time atmospheric parameters, pavement conditions, water level conditions, and visibility. Central RWIS hardware and software are used to process observations from ESS to develop nowcasts or forecasts, and display or disseminate road weather information in a format that can be easily interpreted by a manager. RWIS data are used by road operators and maintainers to support decision making. Real-time RWIS data is also used by Automated Warning Systems (AWS). The spatial and temporal resolution can be that of a mesonet. The data is often considered proprietary although it is often ingested into numerical weather prediction models.


SNOTEL is an automated system of snowpack and related climate sensors operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of Agriculture in the Western United States.

There are over 730 SNOTEL (or snow telemetry) sites in 11 states, including Alaska. The sites are generally located in remote high-mountain watersheds where access is often difficult or restricted. Access for maintenance by the NRCS includes various modes from hiking and skiing to helicopters.All SNOTEL sites measure snow water content, accumulated precipitation, and air temperature. Some sites also measure snow depth, soil moisture and temperature, wind speed, solar radiation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. These data are used to forecast yearly water supplies, predict floods, and for general climate research.

Undersea mountain range

Undersea mountain ranges are mountain ranges that are mostly or entirely underwater, and specifically under the surface of an ocean. If originated from current tectonic forces, they are often referred to as a mid-ocean ridge. In contrast, if formed by past above-water volcanism, they are known as a seamount chain. The largest and best known undersea mountain range is a mid-ocean ridge, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has been observed that, "similar to those on land, the undersea mountain ranges are the loci of frequent volcanic and earthquake activity".

Voluntary observing ship program

Due to the importance of surface weather observations from the surface of the ocean, the voluntary observing ship program, known as VOS, was set up to train crews how to take weather observations while at sea and also to calibrate weather sensors used aboard ships when they arrive in port, such as barometers and thermometers. An Automatic Voluntary Observing Ships (AVOS) System is an automated weather station that transmits VOS program reports.

Wave base

The wave base, in physical oceanography, is the maximum depth at which a water wave's passage causes significant water motion. For water depths deeper than the wave base, bottom sediments and the seafloor are no longer stirred by the wave motion above.

Weather balloon

A weather or sounding balloon is a balloon (specifically a type of high-altitude balloon) that carries instruments aloft to send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed by means of a small, expendable measuring device called a radiosonde. To obtain wind data, they can be tracked by radar, radio direction finding, or navigation systems (such as the satellite-based Global Positioning System, GPS). Balloons meant to stay at a constant altitude for long periods of time are known as transosondes. Weather balloons that do not carry an instrument pack are used to determine upper-level winds and the height of cloud layers. For such balloons, a theodolite or total station is used to track the balloon's azimuth and elevation, which are then converted to estimated wind speed and direction and/or cloud height, as applicable.

Ocean zones
Sea level
Earth-based meteorological observation systems and weather stations


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